A leaf; B bract; C bracteoles and axis rudiment; D wing; E keel; F standard; G androecium and gynoecium; H unfolded calyx; I pod; J seed. Scale: between points = 2 mm. (Drawn from. N. Sousa Costa & Quintino 3160.)
Basionym: Arachis fruticosa Retz.; Stylosanthes bojeri Vogel; Stylosanthes mucronata Willd.
Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae) subfamily: Faboideae tribe: Dalbergieae subtribe: Stylosanthinae.
Woody perennial herb to shrub, 0.1‒1 m tall, usually with a thick woody rootstock and many branches. Stems pubescent to densely hairy. Leaves trifoliolate; leaflets oblong-elliptic or linear-lanceolate, acute at base and apex, 5‒33 mm long, 1‒9 mm wide, usually pubescent and bristly. Flowers cream to yellow, 3‒5 borne in dense oblong terminal heads; calyx-lobes 2‒4 mm long. Standard 5‒7 mm long, 4‒5 mm wide. Pod 4‒9 mm long with 1 or 2 segments 3.5‒4 mm long, 2‒2.5 mm wide and a slightly curved beak 1‒3 mm long, usually densely pubescent; seeds 1.5‒2 mm long. 240,000‒360,000 seeds per kg.
S. fruticosa is not reliably distinguishable morphologically from S. scabra.
English: African stylo, wild lucerne, shrubby pencilflower
Africa: bâda gotur, bala korama (Senegal); mbono muso, nbono, damel (The Gambia); guirti, kassantouri, dakadake (Zarma/Niger, Nigeria, Benin)
India: saillekampa, sella kampa సెల్లకంప , saali kampa సాలి కంప (Telugu)
Africa: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa (Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Transvaal), Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Indian Ocean: Madagascar
Asia: India, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Yemen
S fruticosa has been used in pasture in mixtures with perennial grasses. It is heavily grazed by livestock in native pastures in Africa.
In India, the powdered plant and leaf are used in traditional medicine.
Found in grassland, woodland, scrub and weed of old cultivations.
Rainfall in its natural range varies from 350 to 1,500 mm/year. The species is moderately tolerant of waterlogging and very tolerant of drought. It can behave as an annual in areas with very poor rainfall.
Occurs from sea level up to about 2,000 m asl in the tropics. It has no tolerance of heavy frosts, although it can tolerate short cool periods and light frosts better than some other Stylosanthes species.
Can tolerate light shade and frequently grows under Acacia in the African savannas.
Plants are day neutral, usually flowering in less than 60 days in the tropics. Temperature is critical for flowering with peak flowering occurring in daytime temperatures from 25 to 30 ºC. Temperatures above 30 ºC can affect flowering.
Tolerates moderate, but not heavy grazing.
Like S. scabra, it is not tolerant of fire. Plants establish rapidly after fire from the hard seeds remaining in the soil if there is sufficient moisture.
Establishment of is similar to that for other Stylosanthes species. Establishment is by seed at rates of 3‒6 kg/ha. Seeds are hard and require scarification before planting to ensure uniform germination. Seeds are small and seedbeds should be well prepared to a fine, firm tilth. Seeds are best sown just below the surface, lightly covered and rolled. Germination occurs in about 2‒5 days and young seedlings emerge about 1 week after planting. It can also be oversown into pastures by broadcasting, followed by a light harrowing. is not reported to have specific rhizobium requirements and in its native habitat it readily nodulates with native rhizobia.
There is no information available that would allow to draw generalised conclusions on the species.
Although reported susceptible to anthracnose in Queensland, Australia and in Colombia, several tolerant accessions have been observed in trials in Africa.
Hard seeds may be dispersed by water and small animals and remain in the soil for several years allowing pastures to regrow annually.
Low weed potential due to high palatability and low tolerance of heavy grazing and fire.
Although the nutritive value is not as high as that of other more leafy legumes, crude protein levels reported are 7‒17% of dry matter. Reported digestibility is 66%.
Much sought after by livestock and heavily grazed.
No information available.
DM production from small plots was 6,000 kg/ha, while lower yields of up to 3,000 kg/ha were more commonly obtained in the Sahel.
For high DM intake of 71 g/kg W0.75has been reported, indicating the species could have reasonable potential for livestock production.
2n = 40. This outcrossing species is an allotetraploid closely related to and has been classified with it on morphological grounds, although more recent genetic studies using RAPDs, RFLPs and chloroplast DNA show that they are distinct taxa. It is also related to the other African species, S. erecta, and it is reported that it possibly hybridizes naturally with it where the two species overlap, leading to hybrid populations with broad variation.
Plants start to flower after only 2 months, towards the end of the rains, and mature seeds are ready for harvest about 4‒5 months after planting. The species is reported as a heavy seeder, although due to the small seed size it only yielded about 15‒20 kg seeds/ha. The pods are firmly held by bracts and seeds are best harvested by cutting the entire plant when the majority of pods are mature, drying and beating so that the pods fall. The seeds are extracted from the pods by a belt thresher or by hand rubbing. Seeds are hard-seeded and store well.
No information available.
Hakiza, J.J., Lazier J.R. and Sayers, A.R. (1987) Characterization and evaluation of forage legumes in Ethiopia: preliminary examination of variation between accessions of Stylosanthes fruticosa (Retz.) Alston. In: Dzowela, B.H. (ed) African forage plant genetic resources, evaluation of forage germplasm and extensive livestock production systems. Proceedings of the 3rd PANESA workshop, Arusha, Tanzania, 27–30 April 1987. p. 174–191. hdl.handle.net/10568/49996
Kouame C.N., Powell, J.M., Renard, C.A. and Quesenberry, K.H. (1993) Plant yields and fodder quality related characteristics of millet-stylo intercropping systems in the Sahel. Agronomy Journal 85:601–605. doi.org/10.2134/agronj1993.00021962008500030015x
Liu, C.J., Musial, J.M. and Thomas, B.D. (1999) Genetic relationships among Stylosanthes species revealed by RFLP and STS analyses. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 99:1179–1186. https://doi.org/10.1007/s001220051322
Vander Stappen, J. and Volckaert, G. (1999) Molecular characterization and classification of Stylosanthes mexicana, S. macrocarpa, S. seabrana and S. fruticosa by DNA sequence analysis of two chloroplast regions. DNA Sequence 10:199–202. doi.org/10.3109/10425179909033948
CPI 41219A This accession was consistently amongst the highest yielding and persistent accessions of the many compared in northern Australia in the 1970s. It, along with all other S. fruticosa accessions in those comparisons, was badly affected by anthracnose in about 1974 and further work with the species ceased at that time. In the event that anthacnose can be overcome, this accession should be considered in any future work.
ILRI 13860 In evaluation in Ethiopia, this tall ecotype from Sadoré, Niger was particularly high yielding.